Sensory processing disorder

Discussion in 'Mental Health Disorders' started by Kiba, Jan 17, 2013.

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  1. Kiba

    Kiba Well-Known Member

    I was just wondering if anyone here deals with sensory processing disorder

    For those who don't know, SPD is a neurological disorder that can cause problems with processing and reacting to sensory information both within and without ones' self. (visual, auditory, tactile, olfaction, gustatory, vestibular, and proprioception).

    Sensory information may be sensed and perceived in a way that is different from most other people. Unlike Blindness or deafness, sensory information can be received by people with SPD, the difference is that information is often registered, interpreted and processed differently by the brain. This can cause unusual ways of responding or behaving, finding things harder to do. Difficulties typically present as problems planning and organizing, problems with doing the activities of everyday life (self care, work and leisure activities), and for some with extreme sensitivity, sensory input may result in extreme avoidance of activities, agitation, distress, fear or confusion.

    he term SPD is now often used (though not without controversy) instead of the earlier term sensory integration dysfunction. Some state that sensory processing disorder is a distinct diagnosis, while others argue that differences in sensory responsiveness are features of other diagnoses. SPD is not recognized in any standard medical manuals such as the ICD-10 or the DSM-IV-TR The committee that prepares the DSM-5 has requested that additional studies be done before the disorder can be recognized. On the other hand, SPD is in Stanley Greenspan’s Diagnostic Manual for Infancy and Early Childhood and as Regulation Disorders of Sensory Processing part of the The Zero to Three’s Diagnostic Classification.

    SPD is often associated with a range of neurological, psychiatric, behavioral and language disorders.

    There is no known cure; however, there are many treatments available

    Sensory integration disorders vary between individuals in their characteristics and intensity. Some people are so mildly afflicted, the disorder is barely noticeable, while others are so impaired they have trouble with daily functioning.

    Children can be born hypersensitive (also known as sensory defensiveness) or hyposensitive to varying degrees and may have trouble in one sensory modality, a few, or all of them.

    Examples of hypersensitivity include :
    feeling pain from clothing rubbing against skin, an inability to tolerate normal lighting in a room, a dislike of being touched (especially light touch) and discomfort when one looks directly into the eyes of another person.

    Hyposensitivity is characterized by an unusually high tolerance for environmental stimuli. A child with hyposensitivity might appear restless and seek sensory stimulation.

    Sensory processing disorder is a common comorbidity with autism spectrum disorders. Although responses to sensory stimuli are more common and prominent in autistic children and adults, there is no good evidence that sensory symptoms differentiate autism from other developmental disorders. Differences are greater for under-responsivity (for example, walking into things) than for over-responsivity (for example, distress from loud noises) or for seeking (for example, rhythmic movements). The responses may be more common in children: a pair of studies found that autistic children had impaired tactile perception while autistic adults did not.

    The neuroscientist David Eagleman has proposed that SPD may be a form of synesthesia, a perceptual condition in which the senses are blended. Specifically, Eagleman suggests that instead of a sensory input "connecting to [a person's] color area [in the brain], it's connecting to an area involving pain or aversion or nausea".
    Some argue that sensory related disorders may be misdiagnosed as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but they can coexist, as well as emotional problems, aggressiveness and speech-related disorders such as aphasia.

    Sensory Processing Dysfunction is now being used as a global umbrella term that includes all forms of this disorder, including three primary diagnostic groups:
    Type I - Sensory Modulation Disorder
    Type II - Sensory Based Motor Disorder
    Type III - Sensory Discrimination Disorder
    Type I - Sensory Modulation Disorder (SMD). Over, or under responding to sensory stimuli or seeking sensory stimulation. This group may include a fearful and/or anxious pattern, negative and/or stubborn behaviors, self-absorbed behaviors that are difficult to engage or creative or actively seeking sensation.

    Type II - Sensory Based Motor Disorder (SBMD). Shows motor output that is disorganized as a result of incorrect processing of sensory information affecting postural control challenges and/or dyspraxia.

    Type III - Sensory Discrimination Disorder (SDD). Sensory discrimination or incorrect processing of sensory information. Incorrect processing of visual or auditory input, for example, may be seen in inattentiveness, disorganization, and poor school performance.


    My Doctor has suggested I might have some sensory processing and overload problems which are causing me symptoms which are mimicking Epilepsy. I thought I might ask if there are others dealing with sensory overload and processing problems and if there are ways they learned to deal with it better or if all I can do is avoid what causes it. I particularly hyper-sensitivities to light colors, certain fabrics, touch, pain and sounds. And Hypo-sensitivities to heat and smell.
  2. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    Youkai, thank you for the informative and very interesting post! I'm sorry you struggle with aspects of this kind of thing. I don't suffer from the disorder, but I hope that if others have this disorder, they can offer you some tips on how to cope. Thinking of you!
  3. Kiba

    Kiba Well-Known Member

    Thanks.. i am also hyper sensitive to others and the my environment.. and super sensitive about what others think of me.. but im not sure if that has anything to do with the condition.. my emotions are very much hightened also.. i.appreciate the support..
  4. luYhAgnuJ

    luYhAgnuJ Member

    very interesting article! thanks for the post.

    i have some sensitivities too (light, sound, smell, pain). when it's bad, all i can do is avoid what is causing it. i haven't found any other way to handle it. i have bipolar disorder and it happens less when i'm taking medication but it doesn't ever completely go away.

    quote from your article:
    "Eagleman suggests that instead of a sensory input "connecting to [a person's] color area [in the brain], it's connecting to an area involving pain or aversion or nausea"."

    i've had huge problems with nausea ever since my BPD got bad and so this article is very interesting to me. my nausea has been completely unexplained.

    anyway, it sounds pretty intense for you and i know how debilitating it can be. is there not any medication out there that you could even maybe just try and see what happens? Good luck to you!
  5. Kiba

    Kiba Well-Known Member

    As I have been looking more into this diagnosis as my doctor suggested I may have SPD, I found an interesting website which talksmore about it. I found it interesting that apparent a good portion of gifted children have SPD symptoms as well.. As I was labeled at Talented and Gifted in school and placed into higher level classes then some of my peers.

    Studies of SPD and giftedness have historically been conducted with weak methodology producing a tangle of contradictory findings about whether or not sensory impairments are more prevalent in gifted children than in typical children. However, in 2007, new research began to appear indicating that SPD symptoms occur more frequently in populations of children identified as gifted than within populations that are not, and this is another area that merits further investigation by researchers.
    Paula Jarrard, MS, OTR, a doctoral candidate at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, conducted a review of research into this question and came up with these results:
    A pilot study by the SPD Foundation found that the 35% of the children in one large sample (n=500) from a gifted and talented center exhibited symptoms of SPD. This is significantly more than the 5% that pilot studies have found in the general population.
    Another study showed that almost 17% of gifted children tested at a different center had a co-existing disorder, including SPD.
    Having SPD may negatively affect cognitive, emotional, social, and motor development in gifted children.
    When unrecognized, having exceptional abilities and learning disabilities (including but not limited to SPD) can have lasting and debilitating effects including social and emotional consequences that persist into adulthood.
    Sensory Modulation Disorder (sensory over-responsivity, under-responsivity, and seeking) is the most common subtype of SPD in the gifted, but many gifted children also have dyspraxia, a form of Sensory-Based Motor Disorder
    The higher the level of giftedness in a child, the more likely that introversion is linked with increased responsivity to pain, sound, touch, and smell.
    "The 'double-edged sword' of giftedness often bestows, among other features, a global heightened awareness to sensory stimulation, an endowment of amplified mental processing speed and attention capacity, and unusual challenges with frustration, pain, noise, and emotional hypersensitivity," Jarrard learned from her review. "As many as one-third of gifted children may exhibit sensory processing disorder features, significantly impacting quality of life."​
  6. Kiba

    Kiba Well-Known Member

    Sensational children who are not treated in childhood often grow into adults whose daily lives continue to be affected by their inability to accurately and appropriately interpret sensory messages. These "sensational adults" may have difficulty performing routines and activities involved in work, close relationships, and recreation. Because adults with SPD have struggled for most of their lives, they may also experience depression, underachievement, social isolation, and/or other secondary emotional or social effects.

    The goal of treatment for adults with SPD is to help them live fulfilled and happy lives. Most adults with SPD struggle because they've been misunderstood all their lives. Often, they don't even understand themselves. Why don't I like to be with people, or go shopping, or go to movies? Or Why am I so clumsy? Or Why is it so hard for me to stick with things?​

    I also found this to almost fit me exactly.. I have ALWAYS felt miss-understood and like no one can ever understand me. And I can't even understand myself sometimes..
  7. Kiba

    Kiba Well-Known Member

    I found a Checklist for adults with SPD and I found out I check quite a few of them!
  8. Kiba

    Kiba Well-Known Member

    General Modulation

    __4__ have unusual eating habits (strong preferances, eat at odd times, etc.)

    __4__ have unusual sleeping habits or sleep schedule

    __4__ have great difficulty with transitions, be they major life changes or small everyday stuff (one activity to another, going from inside to outdoors, etc.)

    __4__ become engrossed in one single activity for a long time and seem to tune out everything else

    __4__ spend hours at a time on fantasy or video games and activities

    __4__ very high or very low energy level

    __4__ are resistent to change in your daily life and environment

    __1__ may have turned to forms of substance abuse

    __4__ drink excessive amounts of coffee or caffeinated beverages


    __4__ bothered by clothes; certain materials, tags, seams, pantyhose, ties, belts, turtlenecks. May have to wear shorts, skirts, or pants exclusively, etc.

    __3__ bothered by "light touch"; someone lightly touching/rubbing your hand, face, leg or back

    __P__ excessively ticklish

    __3__ distressed by others touching you; would rather be the "toucher" than the "touchee". May lead to difficulty "snuggling" with your partner

    __4__ very sensitive to pain, especially as compared to others

    __1__ dislike the feeling of showers or getting splashed

    __3__ difficulty going to the beach; the sand blowing on your skin or getting on your body

    __3__ avoid touching anything "messy"; if you do, you have to go wash your hands right away and/or only touch it with your fingertips

    __3__ can not wear new or "stiff" clothes that have not been washed or soaked in fabric softener

    __3__ hate to be barefoot or hate to wear shoes and/or socks

    __P__ frequently get car sick, air sick, motion sick

    __1__ difficulty riding on elevators, escalators, or moving sidewalks

    __4__ avoid amusement park rides that drop, climb, spin, or go upside down

    __2__ difficulty eating foods with mixed textures, or one particular texture

    __2__ prefer very bland foods, dislike anything spicy

    __4__ become nauseated or gag from certain cooking, cleaning, perfume, public restroom, or bodily odors

    __4__ become overstimulated or overaroused when people come to the house or when in crowded places

    __4__ overly exited/aroused in group settings

    __4__ avoid crowds and hide or disappear when guests come over

    __4__ sensitive to noises that other people do not seem bothered by (clocks, refrigerators, fans, people talking, blenders, vaccuum cleaners, animals, outdoor construction, etc.)

    __4__ easily distracted by auditory or visual stimuli

    __4__ can not attend certain public events or places due to excessive noise

    __4__ over react to loud noises, like sirens

    __2__ can't sleep if room isn't completely dark

    __P__ fearful of heights

    __2__ bothered by hands or face being dirty


    __2__ may fail to recognize stimuli that most would find alerting or strong

    __3__ unable to identify foods that have gone bad by smell

    __0__ difficulty being able to smell dangerous smells, i.e., smoke, noxious/hazardous solvents, or if something is burning in the stove or oven

    __1__ don't seem to notice pain; get shots/cuts/bruises and hardly feel a thing

    __4__ lethargic, hard to get going, appear "lazy" and unmotivated

    __3__ don't seem to notice if your hands or face are dirty

    __1__ don't seem to get dizzy

    __2__ have a hard time feeling parts of your body, as though they aren't there

    __3__ difficulty waking up in the morning (may not even notice alarm clock)

    Sensory Seeking

    __3__ have to fidget and "fiddle" with things all the time; change in your pocket, your keys, a pen/pencil, paper clip, rubber band, anything within reach

    __P__ often touching and twisting your own hair

    __3__ are a thrill seeker; love fast and/or dangerous rides, leisure activities, and sports

    __0__ seek out fast, spinning, and/or upside down carnival rides

    __4__ will often rock or sway body back and forth while seated or standing still

    __3__ frequently tip chair on back two legs

    __4__ restless when sitting through a lecture, presentation, or movie

    __2__ constantly chew on pens and pencils, chew gum, or smoke cigarettes

    __3__ prefer foods with very strong tastes and flavors

    __3__ constantly bite nails or fingers

    __2__ bite lips or inside of cheeks

    __1__ frequently shake your leg while sitting or falling asleep

    __1__ love to sleep with multiple or heavy blankets on top of you

    __0__ seek out crashing and "squishing" activities

    __1__ crack knuckles often

    __0__ love crunchy foods (popcorn, carrots, chips, nuts, pretzels, etc.)

    __0__ have an "endless" supply of air fresheners, scented candles, odor masking sprays, etc.

    __0__ identify objects by smell, have to smell everything, judge whether you like something or someone by smell

    __4__ great difficulty settling body down for sleep

    __0__ love to touch and be touched, have to touch everything

    Sensory Discrimination

    __0__ can't identify objects by feel if your eyes are closed

    __2__ difficulty finding things in your purse or pocket without looking

    __3__ difficulty heating food to the correct temperature, feeling if it is too hot or too cold

    __4__ difficulty locating items in a cupboard, drawer, in your closet, or on a grocery shelf

    __1__ difficulty with recognizing/interpreting/following traffic signs

    __4__ difficulty judging distances about where your car is in relation to other cars, in parking spaces, or near a curb (fail miserably at parallel parking!!)

    __?__ difficulty merging into oncoming traffic on road, rotary, or highway

    __4__ get disoriented and/or lost easily in stores, buildings, hiking, etc.

    __4__ difficulty concentrating on or watching a movie/tv show when there is background noise or distractions

    __4__ difficulty remembering or understanding what people are telling you

    __4__ difficulty following directions if given two or three at one time

    __4__ can not complete concentrated tasks if noises present

    __4__ talks too loud or too soft

    __0__ difficulty licking an ice cream cone neatly

    __3__ difficulty with speech and annunciation

    __1__ bump into things frequently

    __0__ often push too hard on objects, accidentally breaking them

    __1__ difficulty judging how much pressure to apply when doing tasks or picking something up

    __0__ difficulty identifying which key on your ring belongs to what

    __0__ often reverse numbers and letters or process them backwards

    __0__ difficulty telling time on an analogue clock

    __1__ difficulty reading and understanding a map, bus schedule, directions

    __4__ difficulty organizing and grouping things by categories, similarities, and/or differences

    __1__ can't reading text on computer screens

    __4__ difficulty distinguishing different tastes and/or flavors of food and/or drink items

    __P__ difficulty lining up numbers correctly for math problems and/or balancing a checkbook

    Sensory-Based Motor Abilities

    __2__ have difficulty learning to ride a bike or other moving equipment

    __0__ clumsy, uncoordinated, and accident prone

    __0__ difficulty walking on uneven surfaces

    __0__ difficulty with fine motor tasks such as buttoning, zipping, tying, knitting, sewing, playing games with small parts, closing zip loc bags

    __1__ confuse your right and left sides

    __1__ prefer sedentary tasks, avoiding sports or physical activities

    __4__ difficulty with handwriting; hard to read, write slowly, get wrist cramps

    __1__ frequently bump into people and things

    __1__ easily fatigued with physical tasks

    __0__ frequently miss when putting objects on a table

    __2__ messy eater, difficulty using eating utensils, spilling and dropping food frequently

    __P__ often knock drinks or other things over when reaching for them

    __1__ frequently drop items

    __3__ feel the need to talk yourself through tasks

    __P__ often hum or talk to self while concentrating on a task

    __0__ significant difficulty learning to tie things (shoes, bags, etc.)

    __3__ difficulty with motor tasks requiring several steps

    __4__ difficulty learning new motor tasks (a new dance, sport or exercise activity, how to drive, etc.)

    __0__ lose balance frequently, maybe even when standing still

    __1__ significant difficulty learning to type without looking at the keyboard

    Social and Emotional

    __4__ dislike changes in plans or routines, needing structure

    __4__ often described as "stubborn", "defiant", or "uncooperative"

    __4__ are very emotional and sensitive, may also be prone to crying

    __4__ can't seem to finish anything

    __4__ have difficulty making decisions

    __1__ are seen as rigid and controlling

    __3__ prefer solitary activities rather than group participation

    __4__ are often impatient and/or impulsive

    __4__ don't always register or understand social cues and non verbal language

    __4__ difficulty with authority figures

    __4__ trouble relating to and socializing with peers and colleagues

    __4__ have difficulty accepting defeat or forgiving yourself

    __4__ frequently get strong feelings of anger or rage

    __4__ easily frustrated

    __4__ needs sameness and routines; needs to know what to expect

    __4__ get frequent panic or anxiety attacks

    __3__ have many fears and/or phobias

    __4__ OCD-type qualities; can't let foods touch each other on your plate, have to wear clothes a certain way, or other obsessions and compulsions.

    __4__ are easily distractible and often unorganized

    __4__ hate surprises

    __4__ difficulty seeking out and maintaining relationships

    __4__ avoid eye contact

    Internal Regulation

    __4__ difficulty falling asleep or getting on a sleep schedule

    __3__ heart rate issues, including: unnecessary speeding, not slowing down when at rest, or not speeding up for tasks that require a higher heart rate

    __2__ respiration too fast or slow for the appropriate state of arousal

    __4__ over or under sensitivite to bowel and bladder sensations

    __3__ over or under sensitivite to the sensations of hunger and thurst

    __4__ irregular, inconsistent bowel, bladder and appetite sensations

    __2__ difficulty with temperature regulation of body
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